Friday, December 26, 2008

As Oil Price Falls, Cash Strapped Russia's President Arrives in India

The Russians are big players in oil/gas exports. Oil prices have fallen from $146 a barrel in July to about $34 today. No wonder the Russians' backsides are burning. What will the President of Russia get as a gift from the Indian government after his visit to India?
  • Probably the Admiral Gorshkov ship deal - which was held up because of Russians demanding a preposterous price - will now be passed by the spineless Congress(I) Government.
  • Probably a deal for some more fighter planes and tanks?
  • Probably leasing of a few nuclear subs?
But then, the Congress(I). has to play fair, it gave such a superb deal to the Americans on the nuclear deal didn't it? How about a confidence vote to get the Gorshkov deal signed Mr. Manmohan Singh?

A naive, self doubting, recognition-mongering Indian is better off giving a wide berth to people who mouth platitudes like "Natural ally", "Relations ascending to new heights", "Strategic partnership" etc. They are what they are, empty words! What speaks louder than words is plain money. In this moment of world economic crisis, the Indian household has been able to save enough to bail it's government and banks out! This is a moment of our strength, we Indians should talk to the world demanding the respect we deserve. But you can bet that the inept and malicious Congress(I) government will give the greedy and cunning Russians a superb deal on a platinum platter sacrificing our respect.

The media was again at it's spineless best mouthing platitudes fed to them by the Russian spin-doctors and their collaborators/agents in India. This report from Indian Express (published on yahoo) is a case in point. I haven't checked up LiC's (N rAvaNa's) views on the visit, I can bet they will be on similar lines.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy holiday season

The holiday season is upon us. Like most of you I'm on vacation currently.
I do want to take this time to thank my fellow bloggers HF, Andromeda, Pilid and Shrivatsa whose inspiring writing in this blog keeps it going strong.
A special thanks to all our readers whose support, opinions and critique of this blog enables us to focus on keeping the media honest.
This year has been very eventful and looking forward to 2009 there is promise and hope of better things but also fear and uncertainty which makes it all the more fun discussing the issues with you all.
Wishing you all a very happy holiday season.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

UPA gifts Nagaland to Christ

Original Nagaland maps lost
The unraveling process begins:
Original maps demarcating the borders of Nagaland have been lost, Home Minister P Chidambaram said here on Wednesday.
The statement is significant as the separatist National Socialist Council of Nagaland has been fighting for six decades to create a Greater Nagaland by slicing off parts of three neighbouring states to unite 1.2 million Nagas.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts about the Mumbai attacks from West Asia

In recent times a lot of blogs, including this one, have covered the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in great detail. They have provided perspectives from inside India, Pakistan and from other western countries.
But what about West Asia? What do the Iranians, Saudis and others think?
Chindu's Atul Aneja provides some details in an article, How West Asia views Mumbai attacks .
The article is reasonably succinct in summarizing the widespread thoughts among leading Middle-eastern media outlets as evinced in,
there is plenty of sympathy in the Arab and Iranian media for Pakistan, which is seen not as an instigator of the Mumbai attacks but as a victim of this conspiracy. There is a considerably large body of opinion that after the Mumbai attacks, the stage has been set for Pakistan to be targeted militarily during the Obama Presidency. The ultimate objective of a chain of events that could follow Mumbai is to draw both Pakistan and Afghanistan along with India firmly into the western orbit of influence.

The Iranians in their usual sense of paranoia blame the victims for the attacks without providing evidence.
The influential hardline Iranian daily, Kayhan, said on December 1 that India, the U.S., Britain and Israel were behind the Mumbai terror attacks.

A minor Saudi daily portends an Indo-US assault on the 'peaceful' Pakis,
The Indian brother may have already given the Americans a mandate to launch wars in the Indian subcontinent, whose management will be India’s responsibility, since it is possessed by the same ‘vengeance obsession’ that struck the Americans [in 2001].

However all this is overshadowed by the statements of Hezbollah in this context. The spokesman associated the incidents to Takfirs,
Takfiri ideas which make others targets of killing and aggression ... the deadly Takfiri thought has been tearing apart the body of the Muslim community, [has] inflicted massacres on them and shed much of their blood.

The larger issue though is the terrorist sympathetic thought process of most of the Middle eastern media which blames the US and Western forces, but does not offer any constructive solution other than asking for inaction from India. Thanks for your help Middle Eastern brothers.
When the terrorists hit Tehran or Mecca, we'll offer similar advice. Oh wait a second, there are already millions of them in those places so they'll find company there.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Loss of Indo-Pak civilian contact regrettable says Chindu

There are hundreds of families who's lives were changed for the worse after the Mumbai incidents. People who have lost loved ones, lives scarred. However Chindu's Nirupama Subramanian,another BHL (bleeding heart liberal) is deeply saddened by the loss of 'civilian' contacts.
Certainly, more Pakistanis went to India but there were lots of Indians too who travelled to Pakistan.

Really like who? A measure by the Government to regulate potential terrorists from entering the country is also being slammed. There has been enough evidence to show that there was significant on-site analysis by the terror groups before the attacks and that most of the aggressors had support already in place. So logically it would appear they have misused India's offer of peace to stab its people in the back. But Chindu's bleeding heart diva Nirupama thinks otherwise.
Measures to liberalise the visa regime between the two countries, discussed in detail between the two home secretaries in Islamabad just a day before the Mumbai terror began, now seem like a distant dream.

At every level India needs to blackball Pakistan and its people. If we are not going to attack them as said by Hon.Pranab Mukherjee, we need to make their lives miserable and make that country go bankrupt as soon as possible.

Educating Hate

Read Shourie's speech. It is quite interesting and his points make a lot of sense barring the one about legal representation for terrorist suspects. The Sustainable Development Policy Institute Report on Pakistani school curricula is here. As Shourie points out in his speech, children are taught to hate Hindus and India from as early as Class I and to aspire for jehad and shahadat (martyrdom) as early as Class VI (you can skip to pages 20-23 if you do not have patience to read the whole thing). 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Zardari's stand up comedy act continues

In what seems to be a daily occurrence Pak's PM and Comedian-in-Chief appears to be hitting gear in stride. In a recent announcement, Chindu's favorite Islamic terrorist leader claimed,
There is no supportive interaction with our intelligence (agencies) and the LeT. Lashker-e-Taiba happens to be a banned organisation in Pakistan

Let me ask you a question Mr. Zardari, have you been completely healed from your foot-in-the-mouth disease? Last time you made such a bold statement, you had to beat a hasty retreat.
How is it that after decades of an unholy alliance were you able to make such a push?
Didn't the same thing happen after 9/11 when your old pal Mushy made a claim to gather all the 'non-state actors' supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda?
More one-liners from Zardari included bits like,
the Indians have given us very little information. I have offered to the Indians that we will do a joint investigation into this Mumbai incident and if it leads anywhere, we will take action.

Or that his puppet regime was the true ruler of Pakistan,
Democracy controls Pakistan. All the players understand that democracy is the only way.

Maybe MMS in true style should start calling Gen. Kayani, than this buffoon with little more than bombastic statements.

Hafiz Saeed's 'House Arrest'


Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Diplomatic Game and Its Implications

What was interesting about yesterday's news headline about India seeking a ban on the Jamaat-ud-Dawa is what was not mentioned. China which is reported elsewhere to have blocked three past attempts to proscribe the organization.

The media is already going gaga over the steps Pakistan is said to have taken - ban the organization, seal their offices and detain their leaders. All of these steps were also done in 2002 when the Lashkar-e-Taiba was officially banned. Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed have been detained in the past just as now only to be quietly released several months later. They are similarly under house arrest now, a punishment usually reserved for high ranking officials and senior political leaders, not terrorist kingpins. Their assets are also said to have been frozen. How true that is will be known in the days to come.

But it is an understatement to say that I am skeptical. For one thing, Geo TV reports that the detention of Saeed is for three months. If that is supposed to be the end of the matter for a man responsible for thousands of lives, that is quite a joke. Of course, we do not know what the deal is with Lakhvi and Zarar Shah. It is highly doubtful that international resolutions and sanctions including that of the UN Security Council are of much value in containing these elements. Saeed has already been on a US terror list since May but it does not appear to have had much effect on his activities. All the Jamaat institutions including its schools and hospitals are said to have been closed now but it is doubtful that the Pakistani government would have done that at one go if it believed that this would be anything more than a temporary thing (humanitarian efforts which have garnered the organization a considerable degree of popular support will be hit considerably which means one can expect a backlash).

Most importantly the Pakistani government has rejected India's extradition request and India has apparently not responded to that country's latest suggestion for a joint investigation (previously the same suggestion has been rejected - with good reason says B.Raman). That implies a deadlock which, unless resolved, is only a matter of time before these detainees will be released and it is back to business as usual. We will have to wait and watch what happens on this score in the days to come.

Today's statement by Pranab Mukherjee all but ruling out war gave India's game away completely. Not that there was ever much of a chance of military action but prematurely declaring that India will only plead with Pakistan but do nothing more suggests that the Indian government has put all its eggs in the diplomatic basket. The strategy, as CNN-IBN Live points out, is to drive a wedge between the civilian and military establishments in Pakistan through this effort. By ruling out war and respectfully requesting (Mukherjee said 'please') the Pakistani government to shut down the terrorist infrastructure, it can strengthen the hands of the civilian government and isolate the military-ISI hardliners. To the contrary, a military response, it is argued, would have strengthened the hands of the Pakistani military and weakened the civilians. The big assumption here is that the civilian government can effectively deliver. There is no guarantee that that is indeed going to be the case. On the contrary, definitively ruling out a military response can equally well strengthen the hardliners who can sabotage any crackdown knowing fully well that the price to be paid is small if any.

It must also be borne in mind clearly that the success of the diplomatic strategy hinges entirely on the US. None of Pakistan's moves are being made to please us. Nor is the successful effort at the UN Security Council which materialized owing to strong American backing. The silver lining for India's strategy is that the killing of Americans and Israelis has given this incident unprecedented international coverage and there is a much better recognition now of the danger of LeT in the US than there was before. Whether that will lead to sustained pressure on Pakistan from the US remains however to be seen. There is good reason to be skeptical on this score particularly as later outrages on the Afghan front can deflect attention in the days to come.

There is no question that this incident has caused acute embarassment to the Pakistani military and the ISI. They are certainly anxious to find a way out of this with the least amount of damage. But American efforts to reorient the Pakistani military into an anti-terrorist outfit whose focus is to combat domestic terrorists rather than India has so far not come to fruition. Gen.Kayani has reportedly rejected an offer purportedly made by the US to retrain combat units to that end. That suggests that the organization continues to place considerable importance on its traditional anti-India orientation. There is also considerable American suspicion that the Pakistani army is selectively fighting only those Taliban who pose a threat to their country while letting the Afghan Taliban run their show freely. There is good reason to suspect that such a strategy has indeed been put into effect by the Pakistani military which again goes to suggest that the idea of using jihadis continues to be central to their strategy to extend their influence in Afghanistan. That being the case, the obvious goal of their military now in light of this controversy will be to take some cosmetic measures now, ask their cadres to lie low for a while and then perhaps reorient them once more to an India-centric agenda restricted to killing Indians rather than going after the 'Americans, Jews and Crusaders', the larger goal of the Al-Qaeda sponsored jihad. After all, when only Indians were dying the world did not care much and was happy to look away. If the LeT can be put on such a tight leash once more, it would not only head off a confrontation with their cadres in the Punjab but also serve their long term strategic interest against India by keeping the jihad going without much fuss from the Americans - in other words, business as usual. That, I suspect, is the most natural goal of the Pakistani military and being the eight hundred pound guerrilla in that country, may well succeed.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Foundation for a pragmatic policy towards the terrorist state of Pakistan

It is time for all Indians to recognize Pakistan as the global harbinger of terror and treat them accordingly. If the recent acts of aggression of Mumbai do not prompt this action then nothing will. A friend forwarded this article, '8 things India Inc, govt must do against Pakistan' by R Vaidyanathan, who is a professor of finance and control, Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore.
This article contains a very pragmatic analysis and approach which the mandarins in the North block should heed and was published on Rediff(I'm sure Chindu would've blocked this at the germination stage).
Some excerpts,
Recognise and treat Pakistan as a terrorist state. The state policy of Pakistan is terrorism and their single-point programme is to destroy India.

About the Pak's army not try to think of Pakistan without its army, irrespective of who rules that country temporarily and nominally. At least 70% of the market capitalisation of the Karachi stock exchange is owned by the army and related groups.

About the people within India who support Pakistan,
There are three groups in India, who are obsessed with friendship with Pakistan. One is the oldies born in that part before partition and who are nostalgic about the Lahore havelis, halwas and mujras. The second is the Bollywood and other assorted groups, who look at it as a big market. The Dawood gang has financed enough of these useful idiots. The third is the candle light holding bleeding heart liberals (BHLs) who cannot imagine India doing well without its younger brother taken care of.

This issue needs to be tackled now with the government, sane citizens and members of the media should initiate action against this failed terrorist state.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Putting some bogeys to rest- the faces of Terror

The photo released by Mumbai Police of the terrorists who are all from Pakistan which should make our secular media shut the f*&k up.
Now what is the next step? Can we launch an offensive now?

Chindu will probably come out and state these are outliers and not your normal citizens from the friendly neighboring country and defend these terrorists. I can understand motives of groups like SIMI. But groups like LeT should not be allowed to expand and should be shut down immediately.
Wonder if MMS and Sonia Maino have the grit to do what is necessary.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Pakistan's clock is ticking

Apparently somewhere Indian politicians and bureaucrats found some b*lls to force Pak into action.
I never thought, I'd read these words in the Chindu,
Islamabad to formulate plan to act against Lashkar-e-Taiba

After all the apologetic positioning by Chindu about Pakistan's so called innocence in the whole sordid affair, with the metaphorical gun being put to Pak's head by both India and the US, Chindu reports the obvious that LeT was involved with the ISI in planning and operating the Mumbai terrorist attack.
Even US politicians like McCain are sympathetic to India and appear resigned to the fact that India would retaliate.
This is India’s 9/11. We cannot tell India not to act when that is what we did, asking the Taliban to hand over Osama Bin Laden to avoid a war and waging one when they refused to do so,

However that article written by Nirupama Subramanian titled, McCain warns Pakistan of Indian air strikes does not have a single statement direct or implied where there is evidence of India's retaliatory air strikes. Such articles steaming with lack of logic appears to be Chindu's style these days.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Now LiC has a real conflict of interest

"In politics there are no permanent enemies or friends" -Churchill

Let's see, Karat + JJ = opportunistic alliance. Now does LiC start singing the praises of Amma or does he keep up the 'secular' ideology and support MuKa and his cronies. Probably LiC will have to go with his 'tail' between his legs to Amma.

Words, Words and More Words...

Today's editorial notes all the problems with the much hyped strategy of diplomatic engagement in light of recent developments but then concludes:

The complexity of this situation, its seeming intransigence, will challenge India’s political and diplomatic capabilities in the coming weeks — and the sane answer is certainly not jingoism and military threats.

Diplomacy, as it notes, has not worked. And military threats are not a 'sane' answer. So what is the solution? Singing happy songs? Thinking happy thoughts? Oh, never mind. The revered Chief Editor cannot bring himself to say it.

Nirupama Subramanian sums up the Pakistan but offers anything on how India must proceed in light of this.

The best of the lot was Harish Khare yesterday, quite unique in his theory. Here is the gem I liked the most:

Perhaps the terror master-minds were right in their calculations that by targeting upper middle class men and women they can bank on India’s middle-class-centric media to create an anti-politician (and, eventually an anti-democratic) mood.

So the terrorists' goal was to create an anti-politician mood in the country!! I should really hand it to Khare for his remarkable insight unlike anything I have heard before. I wonder whether the terrorists themselves had thought about this.

Here are some more of his other wise observations:

It is time the Prime Minister and the government demonstrated intellectual spunk and administrative muscle.

...The same ambience of ‘public anger’ after the December 13 attack on Parliament House pushed the Vajpayee government into an ‘aar –paar’ (do or die) game with Islamabad. The itch for ‘doing something’ against Pakistan must be avoided.

Pakistan must not be touched. Period. That leaves very little wiggle room for the PM to demonstration any muscle or 'spunk'. Which means Khare's exhortation is also - to use the expression - just 'bunk'.

...Good politics and good governance demand that our response to Mumbai should not aggravate communal tensions at home. It is the duty of the Manmohan Singh establishment to use the next few months to educate the country on the sobering reality that rampant communalism over two decades has not made India a more secure place.

His advice about the rampant communalism suggests that he probably missed the bit about the perpetrators sailing into Mumbai from Pakistan.

People must get a clear feeling that the government is sincere about ensuring their security – and treats this as its primary duty.

With the riders he has put forth, good luck with that.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Chindu celebrates Dr. Thapar's "accomplishments"

History, it is said, is written by winners of wars. However it is also written by people who have biased opinions and prejudices against society and want to narrate their imagination which is often negated by evidence.
A prime example of such a person is Dr. Romila Thapar who leads the left wing educational researchers at the JNU. Apparently she has been awarded the 2008 Kluge prize by the US Library of Congress, as reported here.
As the US LoC stated,
“created a new and more pluralistic view of Indian civilisation, which had seemed more unitary and unchanging, by scrutinising its evolution over two millennia and searching out its historical consciousness.

For a detailed expose of how biased and unscientific Dr. Thapar and other similar Marxist historians are, do check out Arun Shourie's book, Eminent Historians: Their Technology, Their Line, Their Fraud
Given the hatchet job done to Indian culture by people like Dr.Thapar, I do not find it surprising that Chindu celebrates her.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

In the Aftermath of the Mumbai Attacks

The mind-numbing carnage has finally ended. Heads have begun to roll. But little else has changed and how much the few things the government has promised actually mean is uncertain at best. It is by now a cliche to say that the great tragedy of our time remains the stupendous failure of the present government to take the threat to India's very existence seriously. Will anything change now following this so-called mumbai's 9/11? So far, the signs have not been very encouraging to say the least. As Jaitirth Rao mentioned in the Indian Express a couple of days ago, we all know in our hearts that this will not be the last of the attacks we face. Now that they have, by gaining global attention, spectacularly succeeded in their objectives, rest assured that there will be attempts to replicate them in myriad forms in mumbai and other cities in the country. None of them has anything more than the most rudimentary security infrastructure which means future carnages are likely to occur on a matching scale even if the number of foreigners killed is fewer.

In fairness, few modern day socities can completely preempt attacks of this sort especially after fully prepared terrorists have arrived at their doorstep. Many of us work not in fields but in institutions housed in concrete buildings - hospitals, schools, colleges, companies, hotels, shops, restaurants, theatres etc. - few of which have either the means or the ability to protect themselves from such fidayeen strikes. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to protect all of these places and in any case, neither the government nor civil society is even looking at this prospect let alone comprehend the humongous nature of such a task. That means we remain at the mercy of these organizations which remain fully at liberty to choose their targets and to kill at will living in the fond hope that they will not choose us simply for self-serving tactical or strategic reasons, i.e., the cost of preparation and attack is not justified by the impact that the panic and fear the expected publicity will generate.

As for internal security, the few measures the government has announced seem to be hardly measure up to our needs. The country needs both a short term and a long term plan with the former aimed at mitigating risk of future attacks and the latter aimed at formulating an more enduring solution to this problem. What we have instead seen is simply a patchwork of proposals whose efficacy is unclear. The coast guard and navy have been put on alert but since we do not know how the hijacked fishing trawler evaded detection in the first place, what exactly will have to change to prevent this is not known. Four NSG units stationed in different cities have been promised by the PM to ensure timely intervention. For one thing, India now has six major cities - not just four. So, are Bangalore and Hyderabad to be left to their own devices then? We do not know yet but I would not be surprised if that is the case. Secondly, this will take many months if not years to execute which means this will be of little help in the immediate future when given the current trend over the last year, additional attacks may be expected. Thirdly, one of the major criticisms has been the delayed arrival of the NSG at the scene of all the action because of difficulties in finding transportation. There is no word on whether anything if any will be done to fix this before the next attack.

Local police have not only been woefully inadequate in numbers but poorly equipped or trained to handle situations of this kind. At the railway station (VT/CST), they have been alleged to have run away from the scene when the shooting began. There has so far been no mention of what if anything is to be done to train these first responders to deal with a situation of this kind. As Ajay Sahni points out in Outlook today, they are the ones who can make a real difference to outcome by limiting the initial damage but there is no word of how their capabilities will be augmented in light of this threat. The Karnataka government has announced that it will set up a commando force of 30 people to respond to such an attack. If it took 200 NSG commandos three days for their operation, one is left to wonder what a small force of 30 can do in response to a multipoint attack of this kind.

As for going after those responsible for these attacks, there are few good options and the GoI will have to review the very same ones that the NDA government looked at in 2001 following the parliamentary attacks. Our own diplomacy is a joke and the latest demarche to hand over the 20 most wanted men suggests exactly that. The Pakistani government will surely not hand over those who are likely to expose the ISI's culpability in all the past attacks which means that absolutely nothing will come out of it (I cannot believe that the GoI even seriously expects this). India may score a few political points in the diplomatic world but it will effectively change nothing on the ground. The LeT will continue to go about its murderous business as usual with at best a few token arrests and detention of their top leadership for a few days till the storm abates. As Ajai Sahni again points out, Pakistan has weathered many a storm of this kind and there is absolutely no reason to think that the current round will be any different from the past ones.

The only other option to this utterly ineffective and useless line of action is war. Apart from the huge cost and the dangerous consequences of a war between two nuclear powers, the consequence might turn out to be a weakening of the civilian dispensation in Pakistan which is still finding its feet. But is our inaction going to strengthen the civilian leadership there? There is little reason to believe so. Is it not going to embolden the intelligence and military elements who aided and abetted this attack not to mention the LeT itself? Very likely. Needless to say, India's inability to impose any cost for these ever more provocative attacks is simply to invite more of them. However, war cannot be an immediate step. India would have to first complete the investigation and lay out the evidence all the while pursuing diplomacy. When the time comes, we would have built up international opinion sufficiently in our favor to justify the action we take.

Pranab Mukherjee appears to have already ruled out war which in effect is telling Pakistan that there will be no punishment for its inaction. This is not surprising given that he similarly counseled against war even in 2001 following the attack on parliament. But by boxing itself into such a position, the GoI has left itself with little wiggle room if the diplomatic offensive goes nowhere (as everyone expects).

There is some reason to think that this attack may have been orchestrated by those in the Pakistani agencies who are opposed to the ongoing war against the Taliban so as to divert attention and to end the effort which their government is half-heartedly pursuing under intense American pressure. This report shows how early efforts are being made at a rapproachment between the Army and the Taliban in the name of fighting the common enemy India. The GoI might be calculating that a military attack on Pakistan will be playing right into their hands. Even if that is so, the question is whether not playing into their hands entails any real benefit to us. The benefits of such restraint are clearly becoming less and less tangible as the cost mounts.

Despite the scale of these attacks and the affront to the Indian state (as The Hindu called it), India's day of reckoning has not arrived. That means more attacks, more killings and more destruction........all in the near future. Till our leadership accords security the primacy it presently requires and summons the courage to take daring and bold action, blood and gore will remain an integral part of front page reporting.And if not acted upon quickly, the very idea of India, as Chidambaram called it, will soon come to evoke ridicule and contempt, not pride.